The article “Is there Life After Email? Yes, and it’s Amazing.” states that most business email is sent to either “cover your ass” or to “show off”. I’m guilty of striving for excellence in both areas.
In the CYA statement, the author says that “Email is broadcast to entire divisions simply to ensure no one can say they didn’t hear about a decision.” Yes, if someone complains they didn’t know about something, I am guilty of re-sending them the sentmail from days or weeks ago. It’s hard not to get a little satisfaction by passively rubbing their nose in the old email they were copied on. For good measure, I’ve even highlighted portions that they should have read way back when. This is one of the reasons I hardly expunge my sentmail folder. Pretty silly and a little evil, eh?
The author also states that “for people who don’t actually make things for their job, email is the only visible, tangible thing they make all day. ” Guilty as well, though I haven’t been one to measure how many email I send in a day. Rather, I measure the size of my inbox. It started at 5 on Monday, rose to about 30 yesterday, and is now back to 7 (hence me taking a time-out from email for this quick blog post). If I have to stay home with a sick kid (which happens quite a bit with 4 boys), I’m able to “catch up” on email. Often this means my co-workers are on the receiving end of a full-on email bombardment that compares to the Normandy invasion. It’s probably not fair to them, but it’s the work that I’m able to do remotely in that moment. The problem is, those emails get responses, so the volley continues back and forth until one of us calls an email truce or silently surrenders.
Regardless of what my colleagues or I think about email, it is still a necessary technology in our line of information work. We’ve used blogs, chat, wikis, twitter, and other technology to communicate within our organization and with those we serve, but none of those is ever adopted as universally as email, nor have they taken any traffic from the well-entrenched technology. However, one colleague has me thinking again about using a WordPress P2 blog for non-essential/non-time-critical communication such as project updates, meeting minutes, or just personal “what I’m working on” or “I need help” conversations. Has your organization used a P2 blog, and how did it work? Perhaps we will investigate and/or give it a try.